Background: We aimed to define characteristics of TB patients in Puducherry and two districts of Tamil Nadu, India and calculate the population attributable fractions (PAF) of TB from malnutrition and alcohol. Methods: New smear-positive TB cases were enrolled into the Regional Prospective Observational Research for Tuberculosis (RePORT India) cohort. Census and National Family Health Survey data were used for comparisons. Results: Data were analyzed for 409 participants enrolled between May 2014-June 2016; 307 (75.1%) were male, 60.2% were malnourished (body mass index [BMI] <18.5 kg/m2), and 29.1% severely malnourished (BMI <16). “Hazardous” alcohol use (based on AUDIT-C score) was reported by 155/305 (50.8%) of males. Tuberculosis cases were more likely than the Puducherry population to be malnourished (62.6% v 10.2% males and 71.7% v 11.3% of females; both p<0.001), and male cases were more likely to use alcohol than male non-cases (84.4% v 41%; p < .001). The PAF of malnutrition was 57.4% in males and 61.5% in females; the PAF for alcohol use was 73.8% in males and 1.7% in females. Conclusions: Alcohol use in men and malnutrition are helping drive the TB epidemic in Southern India. Reducing the TB burden in this population will require efforts to mitigate these risk factors.
Hochberg, N. S., Sarkar, S., Horsburgh, C. R., Knudsen, S., Pleskunas, J., Sahu, S., … Roy, G. (2017). Comorbidities in pulmonary tuberculosis cases in Puducherry and Tamil Nadu, India: Opportunities for intervention. PLoS ONE, 12(8). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0183195